Helio Launches Mobile Youth Service

Playing off the success of MySpace's70 million youthful users, Helio LLC launched its own mobile service Tuesday.

May 2, 2006

2 Min Read
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Playing off the success of MySpace's 70 million youthful users, Helio LLC launched its mobile service Tuesday and said it will be available at 1,000 retail locations by the end of the month.

The service, with some $440 million in backing from EarthLink and SK Telecom of Korea, features a range of messaging and entertainment options designed to appeal to youthful mobile phone users. Individual monthly subscriptions begin at $85 and top out at $135.

"Helio is custom-built for the lifestyle of young people who have their mobile device at the center of their universe," said Sky Dayton, the firm's CEO, in a statement. "Mobile devices are with us all the time and they shouldn't be limited to making calls, sending text messages and downloading content."

One feature is MySpace on Helio, which has been crafted for MySpace users, who can post photos through Helio to their MySpace page.

Helio has worked to replicate the online MySpace experience. The firm's announcement stated: "This includes the ability to read and write MySpace mail, post and reply to bulletins, read and write blogs, view profiles and add new friends as you meet them."Helio has its own unique offerings, too. H.O.T. (Helio on Top) is a news, weather, and traffic solution coupled with access to celebrity news and sports scores. The service's messaging platform supports video, picture, and text messaging, along with a one-megabyte memory to store it all.

It's all delivered through Qualcomm's 3G EV-DO technology over Sprint/Nextel networks.

The Korean-made handsets -- called Hero and Kickflip -- each feature 2.2 inch, 262K-color high-resolution QVGA LCD displays and a 2.0-megapixel camera with digital zoom and flash. Each handset has full duplex stereo speakers. The Hero is listed at $275 and the Kickflip at $250.

Yahoo is supplying a brace of offerings for Helio including its search, e-mail, messenger, news, photos, and finance features.

Helio is late to the youth market following launches by Virgin Mobile, and Amp'd Mobile. And its network supplier Sprint/Nextel has a competitor in the youth market with its Boost Mobile. However, Helio believes its link to MySpace and several innovative functions will give it an edge.The service also features a partnership with games provider IGN.com. Helio said its games are priced at $5.99 for outright purchase or 99 cents for a week's rental.

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